Wondering when is the best time to sell your home? It is one of the most common questions I receive. The answer is, “it depends”. The correct response is based on several issues, one of the largest being your motivation to sell. Are you hoping to sell quickly? Get top dollar? Both? Here are several types of motivations with a short answer to each:
Selling Quickly vs Selling for the Highest Price
If this is your primary goal, the short answer is this: Sell when demand is high, and inventory is low. This time frame varies by area and price range. It also varies based on competing with new homes being built, that add a lot of inventory to the market. On average, most buyers start looking in early spring, while most sellers do not get on the market until early summer. Therefore, the highest demand and lowest inventory are in the early spring market, often making March the best time to sell your home.
However, depending upon your reasons for selling, you may not be in a position to wait until spring. In that case, selling quickly comes down to either price or condition (or both).
Having to Sell during Winter
Although winter is rarely considered the best time to sell your home, winter months are dominated by relocation buyers. These buyers are highly motivated to buy quickly, and often inventory is very low. As a result, winter market homes can often sell for higher prices than the spring market homes. The key to selling winter homes is that they must be in impeccable condition. Relocation buyers usually are too busy with new jobs, finding new friends, and getting their kids connected into schools. They do not have the time or contacts to deal with repairs. Therefore, they will quickly jump on a “move-in ready” home that meets their housing criteria.
So what about the people who do not have the resources or time to create an impeccable home, nor have the time to wait until the spring market? In that case, there is only one remaining option to sell quickly: Price. Buyers prefer to move in the spring or summer markets, and prefer an ideal “move-in ready” home. If you do not have either, you must attract them with price. And the reality is, if you are asking the buyer to compromise, then price must be VERY attractive. Typically I recommend 5% – 7% below market in those situations. So, the best time to sell your home depends greatly on your individual goals and circumstances.
Testing the Market
Often times, sellers will say, “I just want to test the market. If I can get the price I want, then I will sell.” This strategy is a big mistake. The number one cause of homes selling below market is an excessive number of days on market. Nothing is erasable on the internet, and buyers will see your prior attempts to sell. If those attempts are unsuccessful, buyers interpret this as a problem with your home. That interpretation results in lower offers.
In central Ohio, your cumulative days on market will, on average, reduce your final sales price by 1% every 30 days. The best price you will get on your home is usually with offers presented within the first 30 days of going on the market. For my clients, my staff and I put enormous effort and dollars into premarketing and staging, all in an attempt to create excitement and momentum in those first days on market.
The above information regarding the best time to sell your home is based on the “typical” home, in “typical” times, in a “typical” community. However every home is unique, and has a unique buyer. At the Alfriend Real Estate Group we customize the marketing and sale process of every home. For a more in depth analysis of your home and goals, please feel free to contact me at:
Alfriend Real Estate Group